Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Gaggal airport expansion likely to be put on hold

Palampur: The proposed expansion of the Gaggal airport, located 35 km from here, is likely to be put on hold following the recent decision of the Central Government to privatise its operations. Earlier, the airport was under the control of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

AAI sources told The Tribune that the paperwork for handing over the operations of the airport along with its liabilities and assets was underway and a private company was expected to take it over by March 31, 2022.

The Central Government recently issued a notification to privatise 13 airports, including the Gaggal airport. For economic viability, this airport has been attached with the Amritsar airport. It is the only airport in the state where six flights land and take off everyday. The two other airports at Kullu and Shimla have no regular air traffic because of small airstrips and other technical reasons. Besides, there is also no scope of the expansion of these airstrips.

The Gaggal airport is spread over 1,269 acres situated at an altitude of 2,492 feet. It has one asphalt runway, 1,376 metre long and 30 metre wide. This is the only airport in the state where 85-seater aircraft could easily land.

In the proposed draft plan for the airport expansion, the AAI had decided to increase the runway’s length from 1,376 metre to 2,450 metre for easy landing of bigger aircraft like an Airbus and Boeing to boost tourism.

01/11/21 Ravinder Sood/Tribune

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